This book was first brought to our attention by Ravenswood Publishing. Thank you!
NICK RANDALL is an archeologist who believes mankind isn’t alone on Earth. When a mysterious benefactor funds his research, he departs to find the lost city of Vilcabamba. Hidden deep in the Amazon, Randall believes the city holds proof that his contentious theory is true. Upon arriving at the ruins, he mysteriously disappears.
Randall’s beautiful daughter SAMANTHA learns of her father’s disappearance from his mentor FRANCISCO ANDRADE who pleads for her help. An accomplished archeologist herself, Sam must decide if she will set aside her career and search for the man she blames for her mother’s death.
But someone else is looking for her father as well. FRANCIS DUMOND, a shadowy man with unlimited resources, will stop at nothing to find Vilcabamba and use its technology to control the world. It’s a race against time to see if Sam can find her father, prove his theories and stop Dumond.
4 **** stars!
The Ruins is a book about some ancient ruins in the heart of the Amazon Rain Forest, that many believed were myth and didn’t exist. One archaeologist, Nick Randall, in particular, believes that they do exist and is on the quest to prove it, and to prove that they come from an ancient advanced civilization not of this world. Most of his contemporaries had written him off as crazy, but one lone professor/ friend. Now, Nick Randall is missing. Others also believe that the ruins exist and hold the secrets to a superior source of power and is in a race to find it first, but they are not scientists, but power hungry CEOs wanting to control the monopoly that this power source would give them. They are dangerous and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. After Nick Randall goes missing, his daughter, also an archaeologist is sent to try to find him. It is a race against time and for their lives to try to stop the greedy businessmen and save thousands of people from an imminent volcano eruption, which find the ruins may prevent.
The book was suspenseful, but a bit predictable. But I did like it well enough to want to read more of the series to see what happens next.
This is a sci-fi action/adventure novel with historical undertones. It takes place mainly in the jungles of Peru, in either the year 2012 or 2016 (the book does not make the time frame very clear).
Nick Randall is an archaeologist with some very controversial theories that cause his peers to spurn him. He believes that mankind may have had some assistance in its technological development, going back hundreds of years. Otherworldly assistance. Set on proving himself and his theories to the world, he travels deep into the Peruvian jungle with one goal: discover Vilcabamba, which he thinks holds the proof he needs.
Samantha Randall is his daughter, also an archaeologist, who has not seen or spoken to her father in years. When she is suddenly informed that her father has gone missing in the jungles, she regrets that they drifted apart, and sets out to find him.
Dumond is the evil force behind an elaborate scheme that could result in him putting his hands on what could easily be the most powerful tool or deadliest weapon on earth. To obtain this, he needs the help of the two Randalls… and he doesn’t plan on giving them a choice in the matter. Nothing is going to stand in his way.
And then there are Them. “Who are They?”, you may ask. You’ll have to read the book to find out, now won’t you?
While it is part of a series and leaves some things to be answered in his next book, it is entertaining enough simply as a stand-alone novel. For a science fiction book, it was a good, entertaining read.
This book contains some adult content, such as brief vulgar innuendo, bloody violence, and 58 occurrences of foul language, which I have detailed below so that people uncomfortable with foul language can judge for themselves how bad it is.
24 h*lls, 16 d**ns, 5 sh*ts, 5 a**h***s, 3 b**ches and sons thereof, 3 f**ks, and 2 a*ses.
Interview with Author Robert Rapoza:
twogalsandabook: Did you always want to be an author?
Robert Rapoza: I’ve been interested in writing since I was young, and enjoyed the writing assignments at school. Most of the time. But I didn’t consider being an author until much later in life. In fact, I didn’t seriously consider writing a novel until my early 40’s.
twogalsandabook: At what age did you start writing?
Robert Rapoza: I started writing in 2012, at the age of 45, while on a family trip to New York and Washington D.C.
twogalsandabook: Are you an avid reader, and if so, have you always enjoyed reading?
Robert Rapoza: When I was young, pre-teen and teen age years, I didn’t care much for reading. Like most kids that age, I had other interests and only read as required for school, but discovered John Nichol’s books and found the first author I enjoyed reading. Since then, I’ve enjoyed reading for fun.
twogalsandabook: Do you have any favorite books, authors, or poets?
Robert Rapoza: Definitely. I’m a big fan of Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler, Matthew Reilly, Bill Bryson, James Rollins, and Markus Zusak. I’ve also enjoyed books by many other writers, but only have so much time to read. The nice thing about reading books by so many writers is that I probably won’t run out of books to read any time soon.
twogalsandabook: Do you feel any books or authors have influenced your writing style?
Robert Rapoza: Without a doubt, Clive Cussler and Matthew Reilly have had a major impact on my writing style. I’ve also taken style tips from James Rollins, whose storylines are fantastic. Finally, I owe my start to Dean Koontz, whose book, “How to Write Best Selling Fiction” provided an incredible foundation for my early writing. I still find it indispensable.
twogalsandabook: Where is your favorite place to write? Do you have any special writing atmosphere or rituals?
Robert Rapoza: I really don’t have a dedicated writing spot. Since I have a full-time day job, and family, I write where I can and when I can. Sometimes, I write during my lunch break at work. Other times, I write at night, when the kids are doing their homework or after everyone has gone to bed. I’ve even written chapters on my cell phone at my son’s baseball games, and once wrote several chapters on my phone during a ski trip.
twogalsandabook: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Robert Rapoza: I have several strategies that seem to work. I’ll turn off the radio on my drive to work and think about my story and consider possible directions to explore. I’ll place myself in the story as a character to experience the action first hand, which generates possible solutions. Other times, I’ll take a walk and think about possible story outcomes. Normally, the solution won’t immediately present itself, but eventually, one of these strategies always pays off. I’ll suddenly have an epiphany and will jot down the ideas before I forget them.
twogalsandabook: How do you handle negative reviews or criticism?
Robert Rapoza: This is one of the most difficult parts of being a writer. It’s tough to read someone tear your work apart, but there’s a big difference between an insightful, critical review and the reader who simply puts down your work. The former is a little easier to accept. This type of input helps you grow as a writer. As for the latter, you just have to turn the page and move on. Of course, there’s always the possibility that a character turns up in your next book, who just happens have the same name as a negative reviewer. And you just never know what might happen to them ?
twogalsandabook: What ambitions do you have for your writing career?
Robert Rapoza: It’s my dream to become a full-time author. While I realize this is a tough road, filled with many pitfalls, my mind is set. It’s full-time writer or bust!
twogalsandabook: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Robert Rapoza: You hear it all the time, but it’s true, writing is a marathon, not a sprint. This is a long, hard road, but if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you will see incredible growth in your writing ability. It’s far more difficult to write a novel or short story than it appears. Learning the craft takes time and lots of reading, writing and editing. Also, get ready for criticism. It’s part of the process. Keep in mind, the important feedback will focus on the craft of writing, and will normally be reported by multiple sources. As for the mean stuff, just toss it in the trashcan. Don’t get too caught up with trying to make your first draft perfect. Get through your story and then get ready to do lots of editing!
twogalsandabook: Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?
Robert Rapoza: When I’m not writing, I enjoy watching sports, reading, and generally spending time with my family. I truly enjoy being outdoors. It puts me in a great mood!
twogalsandabook: What inspired you to write “The Ruins”?
Robert Rapoza: I loved the television show, “In Search Of”, narrated by Leonard Nimoy. It blended science with mythology, which was very unique at the time. I also enjoy astronomy and realized a long time ago, that the universe is enormous. The chances that we’re alone are virtually non-existant.
twogalsandabook: What inspired you to place the book in the setting you did?
Robert Rapoza: Peru is home to many legends and ruins, some of which are yet to be discovered. There’s an incredible sense of adventure to the jungles in that region of the world. Undiscovered species of animals, plants, and insects are still out there, waiting to be found, and I’m sure there are some incredible secrets still buried out there as well.
twogalsandabook: How long did it take you to write “The Ruins” from the conception until the end?
Robert Rapoza: I completed the first draft in 10 months, but then the real work began. Multiple rounds of self-editing, beta reviews and professional editing consumed another year and a half. Then I started pitching the stories to agents and publishers and landed a contract with Ravenswood Publishing in North Carolina.
twogalsandabook: Did you have to do much research to write the book?
Robert Rapoza: Yes, much more than I had anticipated! The great part about my research was that it took the story in directions I couldn’t have imagined. I researched legends of The Sacred Valley and other parts of Peru, along with weather, culture and weapons. I truly hope no one ever reviews my internet search history. If they do, I have a lot of explaining to do!
twogalsandabook: Did you hit any snags while writing/ researching the book?
Robert Rapoza: Many times. I created an outline of the story, but there were times when research and the flow of events would take the story in a new direction. As a result, I had to step back and reassess and rewrite chapters in response. Also, when I began editing, and getting beta reader feedback, I discovered plot inconsistencies which had to be addressed. I have written three full length novels so far, and each time was a struggle. After speaking with fellow writers, I’ve discovered this is a very common occurrence.
twogalsandabook: What first sparked your interest in archaeology? Are you interested in it as an whole. or just specifically in South America?
Robert Rapoza: I’ve always had an interest in archaeology, and exploration. History fascinates me, and there is so much about the development of human society that is still mysterious. I think it’s the mysteries of places such as Easter Island, the ruins of Copan, and other poorly understood phenomenon that keep life interesting.
twogalsandabook: Have you ever been to South America, specifically Peru?
Robert Rapoza: I haven’t, but it’s certainly on my bucket list.
twogalsandabook: When did you first learn of the “Legend of Vilcabamba”?
Robert Rapoza: I discovered the history of Vilcabamba while conducting research on possible locations for my story, and immediately knew I had found my setting. After digging a little deeper, I discovered the creation story of Ayar Manco and the Incan people and the story took off from there.
twogalsandabook: Do you think something like “Vilcabamba” actually exists? (Obviously, not quite like in your book though, haha!)
Robert Rapoza: I’m certain ruins of forgotten civilizations are waiting to be discovered. With recent developments in ground penetrating radar, scientists have begun to pull back the veil on structures hidden under centuries of jungle growth. As these items are discovered, I believe it will motivate scientists to launch expeditions to conduct thorough examinations. Who knows what we’ll learn?
twogalsandabook: If you could be any of the characters in your book, who would it be?
Robert Rapoza: As a husband, and father of two, I’ve drawn on my personal experiences to create Nick Randall. He and I share many traits: stubbornness, love of family, and a sense of adventure, just to name a few. Of course, he’s a bit more educated, adventurous and in little better shape than I am, but if I were a character in the series it would be Nick.
twogalsandabook: Do you believe in the possibility of life on other planets?
Robert Rapoza: Given the number of potentially habitable solar systems in the universe, I can’t imagine that we are the only intelligent life out there. In fact, I believe that within my lifetime, we will at least discover simple life on other planetary bodies and/or moons within our solar system (single and multiple celled organisms). And when we do, it will be a game changer.
twogalsandabook: What do you think of the theory that aliens assisted ancient man in doing things that today seem impossible with their limited technology?
Robert Rapoza: The scientific method calls upon us to exhaust all other possible explanations first, but I don’t think it can be entirely ruled out. I choose to keep an open mind on the subject. Once again, our understanding of the physical world is still limited. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), we have only explored 5% of the ocean.
twogalsandabook: If “The Ruins” were adapted into a t. v. series or movie, who can you imagine playing the main characters?
Robert Rapoza: I like what Tommy Howell from Readers Favorite said in his review when he called Nick Randall “A statesman and action hero worthy of Pierce Brosnan or Liam Neeson” in his review.
twogalsandabook: Has a trailer been made for “The Ruins”?
Robert Rapoza: No.
twogalsandabook: How many other books have you written?
Robert Rapoza: I have completed 3 novels, one short fiction story and have written 20,000 words of my fourth book.
twogalsandabook: Would you like to tell us a bit about them?
Robert Rapoza: My second novel, The Bermuda Connection, was just chosen as an NABE Pinnacle Book Achievement Award Winner for 2017. This book features Nick and his son John Randall. Nick is haunted by a recurring nightmare. Having just returned from an expedition in the jungles of Peru, he believes the dream may be tied to his discovery of a previously unknown native tribe, unlike any known to man. When he is nearly killed by assassins, he’s forced into hiding.
Nick’s son John is a talented Bioengineer who has developed a drug that erases past traumatic experiences, but has an unintended side effect as well. Mind control. When his research partner mysteriously disappears, John searches for answers and soon finds himself pursued by a rogue band of military henchmen.
Their paths cross when they are both drawn to a mysterious woman on the Island of Bermuda. But they must find her and solve the riddle before a crazed industrialist, and the Chinese military unleash a horrific weapon on humanity.
My third book, The Devil’s Heart, is in the final editing stages. In this story, Nick and Sam Randall team up again to thwart a plot hatched in the waning hours of World War II. Under the deep cover of a jungle research facility in South America, a group plots to launch a weapon of mass destruction upon the world. The only thing standing in their way are Nick, Sam and an ancient Christian military order, sworn to protect the innocent. I intend to take it through my writing group for feedback prior to its release. I hope to have it published in late 2018.
The fourth book, Washington’s Ghost, brings the story closer to home with a focus on a strange occurrence during the Revolutionary War. General George Washington features prominently in the story, which could result in a complete re-alignment of the geopolitical structure of the world.
twogalsandabook: Is there anything you would like to add that we have not discussed?
Robert Rapoza: f readers are interested in my work, please visit my website and drop me a message. Aside from that, just a hearty thank you for inviting me to this interview!
twogalsandabook: Are there any social media platforms where readers could connect with you?
Robert Rapoza: I invite readers to join me on my website: http://www.robertrapoza.com/
More books by Robert Rapoza: